Contact Us


Parish History                          


Sacred Heart Parish

Sacred Heart Parish On November 3, 1847, the Catholic community at St. Louis, Oregon, became the third parish to be established in Oregon.  By 1872 Gervais was separated from St. Louis and become a new parish under the patronage of Sts. Gervase and Protase.  In 1895 the patronage was changed to that of the Sacred Heart.  The two parishes existed side by side until 1980, after that the pastor of Sacred Heart in Gervais, acted as the administrator of St. Louis.

In 1991 the two parishes of St. Louis and Sacred Heart in Gervais were reunited again as one parish with the new name of Sacred Heart-St. Louis.  When the Sacred Heart's pastor asked the officials of the Archdiocese for a copy of the document establishing this new parish, none was to be found.  When asked about this the chancellor of the Archdiocese, said that there had never been a decree separating the two parishes in 1875.  Therefore, what had never been decreed to be separated needed no decree to be reunited.

While the two former parishes still maintain separate identities and histories, those histories are intimately entwined.  So many families of the two communities are related by blood and marriage.  Their sense of history is very long and deep.  There is a uniqueness about Sacred Heart-St. Louis Parish that is shared by no other parish in the Archdiocese with the exception of St. Paul which is the first parish in the Archdiocese and the immediate predecessor and spiritual mother of St. Louis-Gervais.

Chronology of Parish History

1871 - Ben Holliday president of Oregon and California Railroad Co., donated a block of land for the building of a

            Catholic Church.

1872 - The town of Gervais settled.   Sacred Heart history

1875 - Parish of Gervais founded.

1877 - Sam Brown donated the land and Gervais Cemetery

            was started.

1881 - Benedictine Fathers in charge.  Benedictine Priory in

            Gervais.  A convent built, 60' x 45', three stories high

            with annex.  Cost $5,000.

1882 - School started by Benedictine Sisters.

1883 - Benedictine Sisters Motherhouse located in St.

            Scholastica's convent in Gervais.

1884 - Fr. Adelhelm, O.S.B., moved Benedictine Father's

            Priory from Gervais to Mt. Angel.

1892 - Fr. Brosseau was pastor and was instrumental in

            bringing the Contemplative Sisters of the Precious

            Blood to Gervais.  Six months later the foundation

            was moved to Mt. Tabor in Portland and Fr.

            Brosseau accompanied the Sisters to Portland.

1893 - Mission of Brooks attended by priests in charge of Gervais.  Fr. Lainck immediately after his ordination in 1893

            was appointed Rector of Brooks.

1894 - August 1894, during 40-Hour Devotion a fire entirely destroyed the church and priest's residence at the rear of

            the church.  The Pastor Fr. Sommer, took up residence in rooms of the Academy of the Sisters of St.

            Benedict just north of the church lot and the convent Chapel was used as a Church until April 21, 1895.

1895 - April 21, 1895 new Church to Sacred Heart was blessed and dedicated.  It was built with the $3,000

            insurance money from the fire loss.

1895 - Rev. Father Daum is about to build a new Rectory at Gervais.  It will cost about $1,500.

1908 - Sisters of St. Mary, Beaverton, come to Gervais to continue the work begun by the Benedictines.

1922 - On June 10, 1922, the second Church was completely destroyed by fire.  The loss estimated at $10,000 about

            one-third covered by insurance.

1923 - On June 18, 1923, the third Church at Gervais was dedicated.  The cost of $25,000, replaced the one

            destroyed by fire.  Dedicated by Archbishop Christie.

1955 - New Scared Heart School was completed.  The school built of red brick has four classrooms and a library.

1960 - Construction of a new Sacred Heart Parish Hall and Gym.

1966 - Burning of old Convent and building of the new Convent for our teaching Sisters of St. Mary of the Valley.

1967 - Remodeled the inside of Sacred Heart Church.

1975 - 100th Anniversary of Sacred Heart Church in Gervais.

1995 - Because of damage done by an earthquake in the spring of 1993 the third church of Gervais was demolished

            on June 23, 1995, to make way for a new church.

1996 - On August 4, 1996, the new Church for Sacred Heart Parish of Gervais was dedicated by Archbishop Francis

            George, O.M.I.

                                                                                                                        Interior at Dedication Time - 1895

                               Sacred Heart Church in 1895                                          Interior Remodeled at Later Date


                                                                    1917 View of Seventh Street


                                                   Rectory - Constructed in 1895 (picture taken in 1975)

St. Louis Church

In 1844, a Jesuit missionary, the Reverend Aloysius Verecruysee, visited the early settlers of the area now known as St. Louis, then being the French Prairie.  The first recorded sacramental act in the area was the baptism of Albert Ploude on December 29, 1844.  Under the direction of Rev. Verecruysee, a church built of logs and measuring 25’ x 25’ was completed in 1845. The Archdiocese of the Oregon City was created on July 24, 1846. On November 3, 1847, Fr. Bartholomew Delorme was assigned as pastor of St Louis Parish and is the third oldest parish in what is now known as the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon. The parish was named for St. Louis, King of France. In 1880, under the supervision of Rev. G.A. Vermeersch, the present church was built.  On April 18, 1880 the church was blessed and dedicated by Archbishop Seghers. It is the oldest wooden church in the archdiocese and the interior structure basically remains unchanged.

1844 - Rev. A. Verecruysee S.J. served the settlers of Grand Prairie. St. Louis Church in 1880

1845 - St. Louis Church was then known as the "Mission Church".   The

            first church was built by Rev. Verecruysee, S.J. out of logs.

1847 - The parish was organized in November with Rev. Bartholomew

            Delorme assigned as pastor by the Archdiocese of Portland.

1850 - On September 5th, Madame Marie Dorian, famous interpreter of the

            Astor Overland Expedition of 1812, was buried below the church.

1854 - The original Stations of the Cross were erected in the Old Log


1858 - The second Cemetery was plotted out west of the church.

1860's Yamhill, Dayton, and Muddy Valley was cared for by St. Louis

            Parish Priests.

1874 - Rev. G.A. Vermeersch is pastor and due to increased population

            started the Gervais Parish.

1875 - A church was built in Gervais.

1878 - Rev. G.A. Vermeersch enlarged the parish Cemetery.

1880 - The present St. Louis Church was built and it was dedicated by

            Archbishop Seghers.  Rev. G.A. Vermeersch was pastor.

1882 - St. Louis area was included in the plans for the Gervais Parish School.

1885 - A new bell was purchased weighing 1,028 pounds and costing $258.00.

1892 - Rev. Vermeersch passed away and was buried in the St. Louis

            Cemetery. Rev. Charles Wensierski, a Benedictine Priest, is now pastor.

1894 - The Sacristy had a fire, but he church was saved.

1898 - On June 2nd, St. Louis celebrates its 50th Anniversary as a parish.  It is

            the second oldest church and the third oldest parish in the Archdiocese

            of Portland. (St. Paul being the oldest).

1911 - Rev. Charles Crepe is pastor until he died suddenly in March of 1919.  He

            is buried in the St. Louis Cemetery.

1921 - Rev. Charles Kraus is pastor until 1949, which was the longest span

            of time for one pastor at St. Louis.  While he was pastor, the stained

            glass windows were installed in the church.

St. Louis Church in 1940s

1949 - Rev. Norbert Fritz was appointed the pastor of St. Louis and

            Chaplain of Chemawa Indian School near North Salem.  During the

             period Fr. Kraus retired.

1956 - On December 22nd, the new inter-parish Sacred Heart School at

            Gervais for St. Louis,Gervais and Brooks was dedicated by

            Archbishop Howard.

1962 - Rev. Larson oversees refurbishing of the church interior.

1966 - On August 17th, St. Louis Church, with "Madam Dorian's" grave

            beneath the building, is declared a historical landmark by the

            Oregon Historical Society.

1975 - On December 21st, Rev. Alcuin Heibel, OSB retires to Mt. Angel due

            to declining health.  He was the last resident pastor at St. Louis


1991 - Sacred Heart and St. Louis were united as one parish.

Return to top

All Rights Reserved ©